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Light Shaping Tools for Professional Photographers

Lesson 27 of 32

Shooting with a 4x6 Softbox

Tony Corbell

Light Shaping Tools for Professional Photographers

Tony Corbell

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Lesson Info

27. Shooting with a 4x6 Softbox

Lesson Info

Shooting with a 4x6 Softbox

Okay, so let's do this. John, let's go ahead and bring in our big gun over there, our big four by six. The big four by six is, it's just, you know, if you're not careful, it's just a problem child. It's just a problem child. It's big and it's messy and it's mushy and it's great because it's so big and so mushy. Let me back up just a little bit. Dun dun dun. There you go. Thank you, Jamie. And just pull this guy up. And again, what we did, as you can see, we put the head onto the box while it was off of the stand, not on the stand. It just gives us a much lesser of an opportunity to break things. Yeah, it's falling, it's falling. They're heavy. I think I'm gonna turn that vertical to start with. Okay, and I'm gonna drop it down to about there. Great, okay. They're big and they're bulky and they're trouble. But boy, there's nothing that kind of creates a window better, you know? It's funny how, what would you identify if someone says, define window light? What would be the, what would yo...

u say about it? Soft, natural. Soft, natural. Yeah, what else? Large. Well, yeah, but I mean, is it, what's the result of a big, soft window? Soft light. Soft light, soft shadows, soft highlights. Easy to look at. I think about lighting like I think about music. Think about this, think about easy listening, an easy listening music station, where you've got soft, easy transitions, right? Same thing with big lights. I have soft, easy transitions. Hard rock, bam, bam, quick, hard, cutting-edge, right? Same with small lights, quick, hard shift, high contrast. I just kind of think of it as music. It's a dance. Okay, so let's do this, my dear, let's get you standing again. And I'm gonna do a kind of a three-quarter view standing here. I just wanna show how kind of great this is. Let's bring you forward a little bit and maybe that way a half step. Right there, perfect. John, let's pull this guy back just a little bit. And then I'm wanna take it also down, just a little bit. And we'll get a good reading on this. And can we, to our friends in space who can hear me that are controlling these three lights, can we turn off the back two of these lights? That's good. I just love that. I don't really want them off, I just like to see that I can. Awesome, guys, thank you. Let me say, we're more accommodating around here at CreativeLive. Now, I'll tell you, there's a couple interesting things about optics that you should know. And for those of you that are new at this, especially. If I wanna shoot her three-quarter length, and I've got my 70 to 200 on, I can shoot it at and I'll have my camera up here somewhere. With my 70, I'm gonna see pretty close to the edges of that background. If I wanna shoot and see less of that background, and make the angle of view more narrow, then I can shoot at 200 and back up. And what happens when I do that is I have the ability, I'm not gonna do it right now, but I have the ability to have an accent light back here and I can bring it in closer and closer and closer back here, right here, and it still not be in the shot. With my 70, it would be in the shot. But by backing up, and it has to do with, it's optical science and it has to do with not so much my lens, it has to do about me. Where am I standing, where are my feet positioned? Yeah, I think there's a great Ansel Adams quote, a good photograph is knowing where to stand. And I think a lot of people don't understand, it's, the camera-to-subject distance determines all this stuff. It does. And then you pick the lens that the framing that you have. That's right. Which is why John Sexton, who was Ansel's right-hand man, Sexton always carries a black four-by-five piece of plastic with an opening in his back pocket. And everything that he does, before he pulls out his four-by-five or eight-by-10 view camera, he pulls out this black piece of plastic. And it's a frame, it's a four-by-five aspect ratio, and he's looking at the scene through the frame. And he knows that if his arm is bent this way it's one lens, and if his arm is here, it's a different lens. He knows everything he's gonna do before he ever sets up a camera. Because all optical. There are people who did that with a 35-millimeter slide, an empty slide they carry around, and use it as their viewing thing. If you're, that's a 35-millimeter lens, that's a 50, that's a 135, that's 200. And that's 200. That's right. And the beauty of this, also, is, think about this. Let's say I need this accent light to be right in here and it's gonna be in my picture, but I forgot my 200. All I've got's my 70. Here's what you do: you back up to where you would stand, as if you did have your 200, take the shot, you're gonna see everything, but go ahead and take the shot and then crop in. And you get the exact same angle of view as you would have if you had taken it with the 200. All lenses have the same perspective from the same position. All lenses have the same perspective. So it all has to do with where your feet are. Where do you stand? So you can make your, the appearance of your picture as if it were taken with a longer lens by shooting it with a shorter lens, but just backing up. So, make sense? Okay, let's take a reading of this. Here we go. 11, five. 11, five. All right, so, I'm going to 11, five. I'm gonna power that down. Ah, I'll leave it at 10th. Okay, I'm gonna back up and go to a longer focal length and see a little bit less of that background. Sorry. Here we go. What I love about this, and we had talked about this, we were talking about this in the room, in the break room earlier. If I want to create a true look of a window here, what you can do is, you can get some gaffer tape or get some strips of cardboard or strips of fabric and I can put lines across this soft box. And I can create the look of a window. (man speaking in background) (laughing) And can create the look of a window, that you, and you wouldn't see it on her skin at all. You wouldn't even know you did it, unless she's holding a glass of dark red wine. Or something that's dark and shiny and polished that's in the picture, then-- The eyeball. The eyeball, you'll see it in the catch light of the eye. But it'll look like a window. So, pretty cool. Okay, let's take a picture. This is real nice. I wanna turn you the opposite way, just for one. Yep, and your weight, yeah, you did it. Where'd you learn to stand? Somebody taught you how to stand. Bring your shoulders to me a tiny bit. Ah, good, and your head just a little bit. That's it, that's it right there, good. Do me a favor, with your right hand, just bring your arm back a little bit. Right there, perfect, perfect. Same thing, here we go. Good, good, good. Now, let me explain that. Relax for one second. Let me explain why I moved her arm back. Any time I'm photograph, and I did mention this yesterday, I think, didn't I? Any time I'm photographing a woman, if I can see a little bit of air under her arm, through, between her arm and her back, I can shave five pounds off. By just seeing through there. Do it, women like that sort of thing. All women do. Okay, so, let's see, I just wanna look at this highlight in her eyes up close. That's a pretty nice highlight, pretty nice position. It's almost too low. So let's we're gonna raise it up. Let's take this whole thing higher. And then we'll tip, well, I don't know if we need to tip it down. Let's just take it a little bit higher. Little bit higher. And all I'm doing now is I'm just raising the catch light up around the corner from 9:00 to 10: to maybe 11:00 in her eye. It's the position of that. And it's gonna let the nose shadow fall down a little bit more than fall straight sideways. Okay, everybody with me? This is yes. This is, okay. All right, here we go. Good, good, good, good, good, good. And bring your head around just a bit. Right there, great. A little sparkle in your eyes. Let's do that one again. Good. Now, I wanna, ah, ah, ah. Let's do this, can you just back up closer to the background? John, let's move everything back to the background. Let's go back this way a little bit. Here you go. And now here's, here's where we get to have a little bit of fun and we get to play. Because of the size of the source, I can do things I can't really do with other lights. This thing is so big, I can't miss her, right? So let's just take this guy and put him horizontal. And now let's just pivot him quite a bit, like that. And let's just use part of it on her and the rest of it on the background. Yep. Can you zoom out on Lightroom so we can see the whole effect? Sorry. You mean like that? Yes. Sorry. I do forget where I am, sometimes. Okay, yeah, this is good. So let's go ahead and, yep, there you go, John. Thank you, sir. 11, one. And while you're there, go ahead and read the background. Where do you want it? Right, right, come to you a little bit closer. Right there, go. 5, 6.7. So it's down minus one and a third from what you really see. So, not bad. So I'm at 11, one. 11, one. Okay, good. Dear, let me take a look at you. Go ahead and bring your hands together like that. That looks good. Yeah. That's great. And bring your head around this way a bit. And let your head just come down a little bit and let your eyes just come down, right down here to my hand. Right there, good. John, for fun, I wanna pull this light around further. And let's just make it a little bit more dramatic. And I want you to see what we're talking about with this source, as I, here, let me help you with that. I'm gonna go even, I wanna go past her a little bit. So I wanna go pretty far. In fact, I'll just pull her forward a little bit, too. Let's bring it around like this. Kind of like that. Do this for me, my dear, let's bring you forward a little bit. Little bit more. And now I want you to turn around with your back to me a bit. Yeah, and I wanna let your eyes, your eyes are gonna be coming right about here, like that. Can you all see this picture in your brain yet? Can you envision it? Depending on where I place her, will depend, will determine how dark this side of her face is. So if I want this to be pretty dark and pretty dramatic, all I need to do is just pull her this way a little bit to me, and this will all kind of, when I turn her head this way, right there, this is all gonna go pretty dark. And as I move her back, on the back edge of the box, then all that's gonna go pretty light. Get the idea? It's kind of a cool thing, right? Let's try one, come forward a little bit this way. Yep, take a reading for me there, John. Right at the light. And now remember, that angle thing that we had, that direction of light that we talked about yesterday. 11 and a half. So it's 11 and a half. I can't shoot at 11 and a half, it's gonna be too bright. Because it's just past 90 degrees. So I'm gonna shoot at about 16, maybe 16 and a third. Then I can have good exposure on her and I won't blow out the histogram. So I'm gonna go ahead and go to 16 and a third is F18. So I'm gonna shoot this at F and I'll show you what I'm talking about. Okay, go ahead and turn your back to me a little bit more. Little bit more, little bit more. Now bring your head around quite a bit and, yeah, and let your eyes go right there. Perfect, straight ahead, right like that, right there. That's it. Right there, nobody moves, nobody gets hurt. That looked good. You were just, the way you were just looking down. I kinda like that. Let's let that finish. Ah, I like that. I'm gonna come out a little bit more. Let your shoulder relax down a bit. That's it, good. And let your eye, your head turn away from me very slightly. Right there. Great, right there. Here we go, good, good, good. Your eyes a little bit higher. Actually, let your eyes go straight ahead toward the box a little bit. Yeah, right in there. Good. Good, good, good. It's just for fun. It's just for fun. I mean, get into the studio and play with these big sources, man, you can do some fun stuff with them. You can create these great catch lights in the eyes, these great highlights. That's, I'd say that's pretty sharp lens. But again, we're just, all we're doing, you guys, is playing with the angles, in this instance. We're just, we're just kind of playing with the angles and we're just going back and forth and we're finding this dark shadow on this front part, let's just move you back right there. And let's measure that again, John. Let's just make sure that we're still in the ballpark. 11, three. Okay, so we picked up two tenths. So I'll, I'll open this up a third and do the same shot, but you'll see that it's a different picture. Let me get back in here. Okay, perfect. Turn your back to me a little bit more. And your head toward me a little bit. And let your eyes go straight ahead. Right there. Nobody moves. Woohoo. And now it's a different shot. It's a totally different picture now. And I didn't move my light at all. So, from that to that, just because of where I've got her standing relative to the box. I can't do that with smaller sources. I can do it with a big one. And that's why you have to have big sources. There are just things you can do that you cannot do any other way. Okay, make sense? I think I'm good, my dear. Thank you so much. What questions do we have? Well, I asked you this before and you may not wanna address it, but studio lights versus a constant lighting? Oh, I'd love to address it. Okay, thank you. I would love to use more constant lights. I think it'd be great to use constant lights. I think, I would enjoy the less trouble of constant lights. I think they're great. But they're not, but we're not there yet. I haven't seen any that I've tested, and I may, I could be wrong and somebody could send me a note on this, I haven't seen any that are bright enough for me to have in a big source to get me at the apertures that I need. (man speaking softly) Or even higher. And if I get in a box like that or a big, big source, and I need to work at a high aperture, now, I will give you this, I will say that today's modern cameras have gotten so, so, so much better. The ISOs are so good now. I can bump my ISO up. And maybe that's, maybe that's what I need to be doing. Maybe I just haven't studied enough. But to my way of thinking, so far, I just haven't seen a brightness come up as, where, as I feel that I need it to be. But I could be wrong, you know. I'm sure there's a lot of discussion in the chat rooms on this. I mean, there are a lot of people that want to use LED lighting, especially. There are some people that want the fluorescent-looking lighting, too. All of that stuff has a right to exist. It fills a need. I'm not sure that it fills a need for me quite yet, but maybe it does. But I'm not sold on it quite yet. I need somebody, somebody needs to do a better sell job on me. So, and I've got some friends that'll probably be doing that now that I've said this on this show. I'm sure I'll be hearing from folks.

Class Description

Light is the photographer’s most powerful medium. Professional photographers know how to shape it and reflect it, divert it and redirect it. They can tame its harshness and coax it into a subtle glow, use it to dispel troublesome shadows or highlight a striking moment. 

Effectively curating light during a shoot can bridge the gap between mediocre images and truly captivating photography. All it takes to bend light to your will is knowledge of the right gear, and when to use it. Tony Corbell is a professional photographer and a master of studio lighting. Join Tony for this course, and you will learn:

  • How to use light shaping tools and their specific uses
  • How to creatively use reflectors of all kinds
  • How to use soft boxes, umbrellas, ring flashes, and other unique tools in the studio
Tony will draw on his decades of experience to teach you a full technical understanding of the gear you need to shape light to your purpose. 

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Corrective Lighting Techniques for Portraiture

Light Meter Display & F-Stop Setting for Exposure

Scene, Subject, & Light Contrast Article

Judging Image Effectiveness Criteria

Gear List

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Stefan Legacy

Bought this class on sale for 19$ and it was a great buy considering it was my first class I purchased on CL. Tony is an excellent teacher and demonstrates extensive knowledge on lighting and different uses of modifiers. Overall this is an excellent course for any one who is interested in learning studio lighting, this will give you a great detail of information.

a Creativelive Student

This is my first time watching Tony Corbell teach and work he was great! I am a natural light photographer and this class made me think about picking up some lights and umbrellas! You can tell he absolutely loves what he does. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

a Creativelive Student

Important information if you want to be a photographer. Great teacher, good pace!!